By: Dave Schroeder
August 26, 2010
A Goshen group plans to revitalize the city through rehabbing homes.
Using $2.3 million dollars in federal money, LaCasa Inc. hopes to make a big difference.
In addition to offering affordable housing (homes will sell for an average of $85,000), LaCasa hopes their revitalization effort will provide a facelift for parts of town that have seen better days.
Instead of vacant homes, remodeled ones will change the look and feel of neighborhoods around the city.
"LaCasa's goal is to strengthen and revitalize the neighborhoods affected over the years by the vacant, uninhabitable houses, and more in the near term by the glut of foreclosures on the market," said LaCasa Director of Real Estate Development Brad Humberger.
In addition to providing affordable homes, LaCasa is keeping the Goshen workforce busy by keeping things local.
"The $2.3 million dollars is almost exclusively being spent by local, Goshen or Elkhart, contractors. Materials are being bought from local suppliers, and we're trying to keep this money as local as possible," Humberger said.
While the federal NSP grant may be new, LaCasa has been helping out for years. Century 21 realtor Barb Swartley senses the importance of the cause that she now helps.
"It's just really exciting for me. I really feel as a real estate agent that how our downtown looks is just so important. And having safe and affordable housing for people is just a really exciting thing," said Swartley.
The biggest thing that many fail to realize about the project, is that most people will qualify to buy one of these homes, and there's help available to save for a down payment.
"It's called individual development accounts, and it is a matched savings program from the state of Indiana. The person saves $400 a year, and the state will give them $1200 a year matched. It can be used to buy a home, rehab a home, or continue your education," said Home Ownership Counselor Debbie Fath.
Fath stressed today that most people can qualify to buy one of these homes.
For example, it a 2-person family makes $50,000 a year, they would still qualify.
The first thing potential homebuyers need to do is contact LaCasa's home Ownership Center. If requirements are met, you will be asked to take a home ownership class and from there, it's all about choosing a home and getting things in motion.